One of the major issues concerning professionals across wide ranging domains is motivation to achieve the end goal or target. Educators in the learning space or top managers in MNCs spend sleepless nights devising ways of keeping the workforce and the students motivated and engaged in the prescribed activities. You might have found yourself bored witless sitting at your workstation wishing there was some way to make the task at hand more interesting. Well, guess what? Gamification is just the right thing! The basic premise is that once you turn a task into a game, the task not only gets interesting and fun, you actually find yourself looking forward to doing it again! With the advent of technology as well as the proliferation of mobile phones, adopting a gamified approach to keeping your audience engaged and motivated becomes imperative.
GAMIFICATION – THE NUTS AND BOLTS:
Let’s get down to the brass tacks and try to define what gamification means. Gamification of a task, a product or a service means to take the basic elements of a game – points accretion, competition, rules of play, etc. – and modify or enhance the said task, product or service by applying these basic elements to it. Wouldn’t you be a tad bit more enthusiastic filling that spreadsheet if it were turned into a game? Basically, to thrown in a party analogy, gamification is the popular guy who gets all the fun games to a dead party and makes it more interesting and engaging.
As per Wikipedia, “Gamification techniques strive to leverage people’s natural desires for socializing, learning, mastery, competition, achievement, status, self-expression, altruism, or closure.“  Or in the words of Michael Fauscette of the analytics firm IDC, gamification is the business strategy enabled by technology, which applies game theory and game mechanics to nongame situations in order to drive or change specific behaviors. In simpler terms, gamification tries to make non-game situations more fun and engaging by applying techniques of games. A gamified solution may just be a collection of tasks with points or some form of reward, where winning or losing the game is actually beside the point, since the main goal is to motivate the audience and to inculcate a sense of self-learning through engagement.
GAMIFIED APPROACH TO LEARNING
The main challenges faced by educators in the mainstream education sector are to get the students motivated enough to look forward to learning more, to keep them engaged in the coursework as well as to foster a sense of healthy competition among the student peers. As a modern, busy parent you’d also wish to keep your child engaged in schoolwork and study without the need for constant monitoring. A gamified approach to learning is a great addendum to education of children which helps in the holistic development of the pupil in all the areas where a strict, regimented school coursework lags behind.
When the basic fundamentals and concepts of a topic are presented to students in the form of a game, these fundamentals and concepts become a lot stickier in the minds of the students. This has been backed by eminent educators, such as Dr. Robyn Anderson, a lecturer in Early Childhood and Education at JCU Singapore, who says, “Play engages children’s attention in authentic, hands-on tasks. It offers choice and a challenge that is within a child’s capacity to master in a stress-free environment. During play, ideas and skills become meaningful tools that are practiced. Concepts are understood and qualities are developed that are the same required to succeed in school and life, such as thinking, problem solving and communicating.”
The process of learning through gamification also comes easily and naturally to young children, whose innate sense of play harnesses and bolsters even the slightest attempt at making any activity game-like and fun. As borne out by Tracie Bryant, an executive in the gamification industry, “Young people use digital gaming in their everyday lives, whether it’s a video or computer game or a fitness app that tracks how far they’ve run or a calorie count. It’s a natural progression to have them expect—and thrive due to—some form of “gamified learning” whether in the classroom or on the job.”
A successfully deployed gamified approach to learning has the potential to not only drastically improve a student’s grasp of the fundamentals of a subject, but also helps develop an affinity towards the process of learning itself. This is very much evident from the burgeoning set of educational services that have strong and deep implementation of gamification. Insofar as the challenge of motivating, engaging and rewarding students within the process of learning is concerned, a game-based approach to learning seems to be the way forward and gamification is very much the name of the game. If you’re a parent, the bottomline is that gamifying the study time of your children is bound to reduce your parental anxieties. When it comes to your child’s education, quit playing games with your heart and choose gamification without a hesitation.
- Gamification Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamification
- Enterprise Gamification: Creating a Leader’s Edge by Michael Fauscette – http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=241562
Early childhood education: Importance of learning through play – http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/education/early-childhood-education-importance-of-learning-through-play
Gamified Learning for the Next Generations by Tracie Bryant – https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/gamified-learning-next-generations-tracie-bryant